Can I trust Take Charge America?
I had read a little bit about Take Charge America on your site. I noticed they had filed a lawsuit with the IRS and laid off employees, but my creditor Wells Fargo referred me to them, so I completed what they call a financial assessment. I gave them all of my credit card information – they wanted to do this pulling my credit report, but I don’t trust giving my social security information over the phone.
They then questioned me about all of my monthly expenses. Then the counselor asked me to hold and when they came back they told me my expenses were not balanced and that they were able to balance them. They removed some of my expenses from the budget and lowered others, and gave me suggestions how I can make these changes. Then they offered me a debt management plan and tried to have me set up a payment. They were insistent that I start now so my creditors will lower my interest rates.
Is this a trustworthy company? How can a counselor in Phoenix know how to reduce my expenses – I live in MD? Are they making money from me through this plan? It seems like they were urgent to get me started, are they in need of money or is this really a free service – they said they are a non-profit?
Well as far as credit counseling companies go they are known to do a great job administratively. If you decided to go with them I would not have any concerns they could efficiently collect and disburse your payments to your creditors.
But, I am concerned that the counselor came back and “modified” your budget to fit so they could sell you into the debt management plan. At least that’s what it sounds like from your description.
Let’s not get the roles confused here. The “counselor” is motivated on some levels to get you into the program. Take Charge America and all other nonprofit credit counseling companies make money from enrolling people into these programs, collecting money from them and sending payments to creditors.
The bigger issue here is not if Take Charge America is a trustworthy company but if their pitched solution is even the right option for you. You need to take a few hours and educate yourself about all the possible options and then decide which solution best fits your goals and situation.
I’d suggest you first read How to Get Out of Debt. The Honest and Unvarnished Truth and The Truth About The Success Rates, Failure Rates and Completion Rates of Credit Counseling, Debt Settlement, and Bankruptcy. They will give you a great overview of what we need to deal with to get you moving in the right direction.
Then use the free How to Get Out of Debt Calculator to review your options.
Once you’ve identified a company you want to work with, then follow my step-by-step guide on how to check out a debt relief company.
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.